Author

Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg

Tessa Weinberg covers education, health care and the legislature. She previously covered the Missouri statehouse for The Kansas City Star and The Columbia Missourian, where her reporting into social media use by the governor prompted an investigation by the Attorney General’s office. She most recently covered state government in Texas for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

Missouri lawmakers push to shield constituent info from disclosure under Sunshine Law

By: - March 29, 2021

A bill seeking to ensure that if a resident’s email address or telephone number was submitted to receive a government newsletter that it’s not used for other purposes has garnered bipartisan support.  But an unrelated provision, which was added as an amendment, is causing concerns for government transparency advocates who worry it could allow the […]

Push to limit local health orders during pandemics in Missouri dies on bipartisan vote

By: - March 25, 2021

More than a year into the COVID-19 virus’ spread in Missouri, a push to restrain local officials’ authority to issue restrictions in future pandemics died on the Senate floor early Thursday morning after it failed to receive enough votes needed to win initial approval. Senate Bill 12, a combination of a handful of bills sponsored […]

Missouri lawmakers seek answers from DSS on oversight gaps of unlicensed reform schools

By: - March 24, 2021

State lawmakers grilled the head of the Department of Social Services Wednesday afternoon for answers on how allegations of abuse and neglect at unlicensed youth residential facilities have been overlooked for years. Last month, former students described to lawmakers horrific physical and sexual abuse they’ve endured at religious reform schools in Missouri — which are […]

A screenshot of the landing page for Missouri's Vaccine Navigator

Most vaccinators don’t use Missouri registration system launched months into rollout

By: - March 24, 2021

Jill Anderson’s weekends are consumed sitting at a desk in her Webster Groves home, hunting down COVID-19 vaccine appointments for those in need.  A hundred miles west down I-70 in Fulton, Amy Golub can often be found at midnight navigating the intricacies of Walmart and CVS’ websites to snag new appointments as soon as they’re […]

Aaliyah Bailey and her two-year old daughter, A’miyah Lehde-Bailey.

Emails show months-long backlog of payments to Missouri child care providers

By: - March 19, 2021

For Aaliyah Bailey, a single mom in St. Peters, Missouri’s child care subsidy program wasn’t there when she needed it most. The first time she applied for the subsidy, which offers a sliding scale payment system for eligible low-income families and foster children, was in December. But she contracted COVID and missed the 10-day window […]

Gov. Mike Parson receives his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Cole County Health Department

Parson announces every Missourian will be eligible for a COVID vaccine by early April

By: - March 18, 2021

Early next month, every adult in Missouri will be eligible to receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday the next phases will be activated sooner than anticipated. Citing an expected increase in vaccine supply, Parson said it was necessary to ensure additional Missourians would be eligible to meet the […]

Records

Group seeking public records on Missouri ‘alternative to abortion’ program charged $26K

By: - March 17, 2021

When the reproductive-rights watchdog Equity Forward received an invoice for its records request to the Missouri Department of Social Services, the bill came as a shock: $26,291.18. “We’ve never gotten a request in the five digits, tens of thousands of dollars before,” said Molly Bangs, the New York-based group’s director. “This was pretty out of […]

Wayne Lovern receives his COVID-19 vaccine

Study: Most Missourians who got first COVID vaccine dose got recommended second shot

By: - March 15, 2021

Only 2.5 percent of Missourians who received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose skipped out on receiving the second one, according to a study released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that looked at a two-month period. Out of the 50 states, Missouri had the 10th highest rate of completion of the vaccination […]

Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services testifies before the House Special Committee on Disease Control and Prevention

Lawmakers frustrated at slow response to questions on Missouri vaccine plan

By: and - March 12, 2021

Bipartisan frustration over delays and barriers to information about COVID-19 vaccinations boiled over Thursday in the House Budget Committee. And after state Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, questioned why it has been so difficult to even get the Department of Health and Senior Services to provide a date by which it will respond to a […]

Syringes of COVID-19 vaccinations are filled during MU Health Care’s vaccination clinic

St. Louis, KC regions to get larger share of Missouri vaccine supply under new model

By: - March 10, 2021

The St. Louis region stands to gain thousands of additional COVID-19 vaccine doses under Missouri’s new allocation model expected to go into effect later this month. By the week of March 29, the state plans to start basing its weekly vaccine shipments to the state’s nine Highway Patrol regions on the number of eligible residents […]

Chris Sevier testifies during a House Committee on General Laws hearing

He was deemed a ‘security concern’ in the Missouri Capitol. He’s back proposing bills

By: - March 10, 2021

During a recent hearing on his bill to establish the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act,” state Rep. Jeff Coleman repeatedly referenced experts sitting behind him in the audience who would be better able to address questions about the legislation’s legality. The first of these experts to testify was Chris Sevier, an Iraqi war veteran, Tennessee […]

University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing student Hannah Tipton administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Clifford Nevins during MU Health Care’s vaccination clinic in the Walsworth Family Columns Club

COVID affects Black Missourians disproportionately. Vaccine is slow to get to them

By: and - March 7, 2021

When the pandemic hit St. Louis last March, it soon became clear that the majority of COVID hospital patients were coming from north St. Louis — where the state’s largest Black population is.  “That is concerning,” Dr. Alex Garza, the incident commander of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said in April. “That shows […]